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Current International Affairs : March 2013

Current International Affairs : March 2013

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Published by K_Vision
Current International Affairs : March 2013
Current International Affairs : March 2013

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Published by: K_Vision on Apr 19, 2013
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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRSChina—Change of Guard
On March , 2013, China’s old guard led by President Hu Jintao bowed out of power after highlighting thecommunist giant’s rise as a world power during their decade long rule, paving the way for new leader XiJinping to assume charge of the world’s second largest economy.Premier Wen Jiabao, who along with Hu steered China for the last 10 years, made his final bow before the3,000 strong National People’s Congress (NPC) after presenting a lengthy work report listing outachievements of his era, especially the nation’s emergence as the world’s second largest economy, overtaking Japan in 2011.Wen’s 29-page report mainly focused on achievements like creating vast infrastructure with dozens ofairports, thousands of kilometres of roads and high speed trains, besides all round development.At the same time, the 70-year-old leader, who in 2012 refuted allegations of his family accumulating USD 2.7billion assets, called for unwavering efforts to combat corruption, excessive concentration power andstrengthening of political integrity. He also spoke about problems China faced, prominent of which is the“unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development”.The NPC formally elected 59-year-old Xi Jinping as President and 57-year-old Li Keqiang as Premier.
Uhuru Kenyatta is elected President of Kenya
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared the winner of Kenya’s Presidential election,beating out his rival, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, to clinch a first-round victory.The victory, however, could complicate Kenyan foreign relations with Western nations, as he is to face trial atthe International Criminal Court (ICC) in June 2013, for his alleged involvement in ethnic violence after anelection in 2007.Kenyans endured an agonising four days waiting for results, during which the anxieties rose about thetallying process after electronic systems failed and were subsequently abandoned in favour of a manualcount.With the manual count set to serve as a cross-check of results submitted electronically, party agents and civilsociety activists raised questions about the integrity of the process.Kenyan voters had defied widespread fears of violence on election day and thronged to polling stations intheir millions, with many queuing for hours to cast their vote. Isolated incidents of violence that left at least15 people dead marred an otherwise peaceful polling, which was widely commended by international anddomestic observers.Kenyatta would be Kenya’s fourth President since independence from Britain 50 years ago. His father, JomoKenyatta, was the first President and was in office for about 13 years.The new President faces a country suffering from underdevelopment and unemployment. Tribalism is alsorife and is seen as a hurdle to overcome.This was Kenya’s first election since the December 2007 Presidential run-off descended into ethnicbloodshed, in which at least 1,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were displaced. A coalitiongovernment had been formed several months later with international support, ending the violence.
Chief Justice of Nepal takes over as PM to help end political crisis
Nepal’s efforts at ending political stability took a new turn on March 13, 2013, with the country’s incumbentChief Justice entrusted the task of heading the government, a move aimed at ending a political deadlock in anation still recovering from a decade of civil war.Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi was administered oath as Chief Executive of an interim election council byPresident Ram Baran Yadav, as part of a deal among four major political parties.The parties differed on details regarding ranks to be given to Maoists joining the army, the commission toinvestigate cases of human rights violations during the civil war and voters list.
 
Regmi’s elevation, however, was opposed by sections within the major parties and by 23 fringe parties thatinclude the breakaway faction of the ruling Maoist party, who threatened to launch street protests againstthe decision.
Cyprus secures bailout
On March 25, 2013, Cyprus secured a package of rescue loans in tense, last-ditch negotiations, saving thecountry from a banking system collapse and bankruptcy. The cash-strapped island nation needed a 10 billioneuro bailout ($13 billion) to recapitalize its ailing banks and keep the government afloat. Without anagreement, the European Central Bank had threatened to cut crucial emergency assistance to the country’sbanks.Under the plan, Cyprus’ second-largest bank, Laiki, will be restructured and holders of bank deposits of morethan 100,000 euros will have to take losses.
Human Development Report 2013
The 2013 Human Development Report – “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” – waslaunched on March 14, 2013, in Mexico City, by President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and UNDPAdministrator Helen Clark. The 2013 Human Development Report examines the profound shift in globaldynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications forhuman developmentChina has already overtaken Japan as the world’s second biggest economy while lifting hundreds of millionsof its people out of poverty. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policyinnovation. Brazil is lifting its living standards through expanding international relationships and antipovertyprograms that are emulated worldwide.But the "Rise of the South" analyzed in the Report is a much larger phenomenon: Turkey, Mexico, Thailand,South Africa, Indonesia and many other developing nations are also becoming leading actors on the worldstage.The Report ranks Norway on the top with HDI value of 0.995, followed by Australia (0.938), USA (0.937),Netherlands (0.921) and Germany (0.920).
India is ranked
136 with HDI value of 0.554.DR Congo (0.304) and Niger (0.304) are ranked 186, at the bottom of the ranking.The Report classifies the world into four broad segments: Very High Development (Norway, Australia, USA,Netherlands, Germany, Japan, South Korea, UK), High Development (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia,Mauritius, Brazil, Sri Lanka), Medium Development (China, Thailand, Egypt, India, South Africa, Bhutan), andLow Development (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Niger).The 2013 Human Development Report identifies more than 40 countries in the developing world that havedone better than had been expected in human development terms in recent decades, with their progressaccelerating markedly over the past ten years. The Report analyzes the causes and consequences of thesecountries achievements and the challenges that they face today and in the coming decades.Each of these countries has its own unique history and has chosen its own distinct development pathway.The 2013 Human Development Report also identifies policies rooted in this new global reality that couldpromote greater progress throughout the world for decades to come. The Report calls for far betterrepresentation of the South in global governance systems and points to potential new sources of financingwithin the South for essential public goods. With fresh analytical insights and clear proposals for policyreforms, the Report helps chart a course for people in all regions to face shared human developmentchallenges together, fairly and effectively.Fourteen countries recorded impressive HDI gains of more than 2 percent annually since 2000—in order ofimprovement, they are: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Angola, Timor-Leste, Myanmar,Tanzania, Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Niger. Most arelow-HDI African countries, with many emerging from long periods of armed conflict. Yet, all have madesignificant recent progress in school attendance, life expectancy and per capita income growth, the data
 
shows.Most countries in higher HDI brackets also recorded steady HDI gains since 2000, though at lower levels ofabsolute HDI improvement than the highest achievers in the low-HDI grouping.Hong Kong, Latvia, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Lithuania showed the greatest 12-year HDIimprovement in the Very High Human Development quartile of countries in the HDI; Algeria, Kazakhstan,Iran, Venezuela and Cuba were the top five HDI improvers in the High Human Development countries; andTimor-Leste, Cambodia, Ghana, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Mongolia were the HDI growthleaders in the Medium Human Development grouping.When the HDI is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiestnations fall sharply in the rankings: the United States falls from #3 to #16in the inequality-adjusted HDI, andSouth Korea descends from #12 to #28. Sweden, by contrast, rises from #7 to #4 when domestic HDIinequalities are taken into account.The 2013 Report’s Statistical Annex also includes two experimental indices, the Multidimensional PovertyIndex (MPI) and the Gender Inequality Index (GII).The GII is designed to measure gender inequalities as revealed by national data on reproductive health,women’s empowerment and labour market participation. The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark top theGII, with the least gender inequality. The regions with the greatest gender inequality as measured by the GIIare sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Arab States.The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) examines factors at the household level that together provide afuller portrait of poverty than income measurements alone. The MPI is not intended to be used for nationalrankings, due to significant differences among countries in available household survey data.In the 104 countries covered by the MPI, about 1.56 billion people are estimated to live in multidimensionalpoverty. The countries with the highest percentages of ‘MPI poor’ are all in Africa: Ethiopia (87%), Liberia(84%), Mozambique (79%) and Sierra Leone (77%). Yet the largest absolute numbers of multi-dimensionallypoor people live in South Asia, including 612 million in India alone.The Report also reviews key regional development trends, as shown by the HDI and other data:
Arab States:
The region’s average HDI value of 0.652 is fourth out of the six developing country regionsanalysed in the Report, with Yemen achieving the fastest HDI growth since 2000 (1.66%). The region has thelowest employment-to–population ratio (52.6%), well below the world average of 65.8%.
East Asia and the Pacific:
The region has an average HDI value of 0.683 and registered annual HDI valuegrowth between 2000 and 2012 of 1.31%, with Timor-Leste leading with 2.71%, followed by Myanmar at2.23%. The East Asia-Pacific region has the highest employment-to–population ratio (74.5%) in thedeveloping world.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia:
The average HDI value of 0.771 is the highest of the sixdeveloping-country regions. Multi-dimensional poverty is minimal, but it has the second lowestemployment-to-population ratio (58.4%) of the six regions.
Latin America and the Caribbean:
The average HDI value of 0.741 is the second highest of the six regions,surpassed only by Eastern Europe and Central Asia average. Multi-dimensional poverty is relatively low, andoverall life satisfaction, as measured by the Gallup World Poll, is 6.5 on a scale from 0 to 10, the highest ofany region.
South Asia:
The average HDI value for the region of 0.558 is the second lowest in the world. Between 2000and 2012, the region registered annual growth of 1.43% in HDI value, which is the highest of the regions.Afghanistan achieved the fastest growth (3.9%), followed by Pakistan (1.7%) and India (1.5%).
Sub-Saharan Africa:
The average HDI value of 0.475 is the lowest of any region, but the pace ofimprovement is rising. Between 2000 and 2012, the region registered average annual growth of 1.34percent in HDI value, placing it second only to South Asia, with Sierra Leone (3.4%) and Ethiopia (3.1%)achieving the fastest HDI growth.The Human Development Index (HDI) was introduced in the first Human Development Report in 1990 as acomposite measurement of development that challenged purely economic assessments of nationalprogress. The HDI in the 2013 Report covers 187 countries and territories. Data constraints precluded HDIestimates for eight countries: Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea,San Marino, Somalia, South Sudan and Tuvalu. HDI values and rankings as presented in the Report’s

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